In hand images and guest review – ComicCon Cobra Missile Command Center

 

Noted author James Kavanaugh, Jr. is back with GeneralsJoes for an awesome early sneak peek at the COBRA Missile Command Center ComicCon exclusive!

This thing took all of us by surprise and James goes in depth with the good, the bad, and the awesome little details.

Check the review out right here (or the link below) and once again, huge thanks to James for pinch hitting this spectacular reviews.  Great stuff!

And hey, if you want to thank James for his help with these reviews, hit up RAHCGuide and buy some of his awesome G.I. Joe reference guides!

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GeneralsJoes Guest Review – ComicCon Missile Command Center

Hi all, I’m back again.  I must be a glutton for punishment.  It’s either that or Justin in getting lazy.  Probably all three.  You read that correctly.  It’s that time of the year and we’re all a buzz about the new reveals and great exclusives at San Diego Comic Con.  I just wrapped up the Revolution crossover set review yesterday and now I’m onto the G.I. Joe-specific Missile Command Center.  I was at Joe Con during the i09.com reveal and this set took us by a pleasant surprise!  I was also close enough to see the set in the case, take it in as much as I could at con, and knew it was going to be a great piece.  FYI, I run around like Joe Con like a lunatic (or maybe I should replace “like” with “as”) and don’t really experience the new product until I get home so we basically have the same view.  Besides, if I really did take the view, I would be there for hours and in everyone’s way.  Well, more than normal.

So yeah, the MCC (I’m not typing Missile Command Center every time, though I could c ‘n p), let’s rap.  Nostalgia seems to be the strong, underlying current of many of our major brands and this set was a healthy dose straight down the hatch!  To recap, this set was a vintage, store exclusive that consisted of every Cobra The Enemy action figure produce at the time (all three) and a cardboard missile command playset.  Cardboard playsets seemed to be an easy exclusive to produce and were well received growing up.  Well received, that is, if knew the store sold it.  But who didn’t?  One of the greatest childhood memories for children of the 80s and before was staring for days at the toy catalogs of major retail chains.  We circled over and over the ones we wanted and checked off the ones we had.  And, on the other side of the coin, the fragile cardboard rarely survived the sands of time, thus creating a very desirable adult collectable piece.  You know this reviewer is always going to give you the straight talk (not what the internet falsely says 60s Iron Man gives) and say G.I. Joe is currently an “Emerging Challenger Brand,” which means a few things, but for this set means primarily adult collectors.  This notion of adult collectors being the focal point can only be reaffirmed by a trip to Joe Con.  And, like I said in the previous Revolution, I self-identify as a G.I. Joe-specific collector so this is my wheelhouse.

Packaging

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I do own a vintage MCC but I do not own one in package.  A google search can show you the differences but I don’t know the size comparison.   Your google search will agree with my point that this thing is almost indistinguishable!  I briefly wondered if this set would be considered 25th style or something similar and it’s close but not really.  I am dubbing it “hyper-vintage.”  I don’t care if it sticks or not, (I actually do, I’m sensitive like that) but I do think this set goes even further to gives us the nostalgic feel than even the 25th set out to do.  One can obviously recognize the 4” styled Cobra in the upper left tunnel but, other than that, any change requires some advanced insight of the vintage set.  Pawn Stars will have to call in their expert to confirm.  Derry DePriest introduced this set at Joe Con while systematically introducing the name Bobby Vala to the fans as the new guy on the Joe brand.  I will be crediting him for his awesome work throughout this interview and will start by saying his attention to detail is intense and his desire to recreate a nostalgic purity is so intense, weathering affects were even applied to the outer box.  Holding it really makes you feel like you’ve found a legitimate holy grail at the flea market.*  And for an MSRP of $50.  No coming home with a loose “Frankensteined” Lightfoot/Scoop, two dirty Sneak Peeks, and a gold Steel Brigade thigh for $50, we hit the jack pot!

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*Designer’s note:  I notice while absorbing the packaging and taking in the “weathering” application, the UPC is starch white (I’m confident for easy scanner readability if this was ever brought to retail).  This is by no means a knock, just a fun facet of the process.  We truly live in a digital era.

Action Figures

So, start with easy part.  The set comes with three characters, Cobra Commander, Cobra Officer, and “Cobra” Trooper.  These three characters laid the foundation for the terrorist cell…, err, enemy camp and have remained at the forefront of the Cobra The Enemy antagonist since.  And, reiterate what was stated before,  they were in the vintage set.  It is this reviewer’s opinion that early “A Real American Hero” is gaining an a bit of an uptick in popularity and these figures capitalize on this resurgence.  But let’s further state the obvious and say we live in a 4” G.I. Joe world and the new, sans O-ring, style reigns supreme.  All three of these action figures utilize tooling we’ve seen from the 25th Anniversary series up until the 50th (“50”) series.  However, these action figures each hold their vintage counterparts to a higher level of accountability and further dial in the “vintage accuracy” to a level not yet seen.

Cobra

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No, I didn’t forget the word “Trooper” in the title, this is an homage to his 1982 naming convention (on both the card back and file card).  Children of the 80s didn’t need everything spelled out for them, we read between the lines that this was the trooper.  This is the classic go-to for that nostalgia kick.  As a guy who’s dabbled in nostalgic card backs, it really boils down to the minutest details.  The action figure’s core derives from The Pursuit of Cobra series and, hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  It does, however, modify the legs to showcase the sleeker elements of the 1982 figures but including the pockets and slightly eccentric (for combat) boots.  The blue is even a richer, deeper blue that hasn’t been seen since 1982.  This blue output further convinces me the team was striving for accuracy.  Oh, and to nail down my point, the gloves are blue.  It. really. is. the .little. things.

Cobra Officer

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Cobra Officer follows much of what I said about the Cobra Trooper…, er…., I mean Cobra.  The blue is the same deep, rich blue and finds its foundation in the same The Pursuit of Cobra Cobra Trooper but takes his own steps to pull from his vintage roots.  The legs are a slightly different, yet just as sleek, configuration that more accurately tackles the vintage legs.  He is armed with a recently tooled AK-47 and has his respected silver emblem.  Honestly, when it boils down to it, what’s good about the Cobra is good about the Cobra Officer.

Cobra Commander

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The Enemy Leader rounds out the set’s trifecta.  He utilizes the “Ultimate” version’s foundation from Retaliation but is then modified with the 25th torso so he can put his laser pistol on his back.  The blue on him is a richer blue and, again, much more vintage accurate.  The biggest nod to the vintage Cobra Commander is the early logo commonly known as the Mic…, err, famous rodent that is very protective of it’s IP.  Don’t pick up what I’m laying down?  Here’s your internet search homework. Trust me, this is a hot little nod.  Again, little things (I’m think I’m going to say that a lot with this set).

To round it out, these core/founding members of Cobra have been regular occurrences in the A Real American Hero and, more specifically, the last ten years.   Oh yeah, it’s the ten year anniversary of the 25th Anniversary line that started this size off, I wonder if Hasbro new this?  Ok, squirrel, back on topic it’s very hard to impress the 1982 Cobra Commander, Cobra (Trooper) and Cobra Officer onto a guy who’s archived ten or more of these and this set passes the test.  If someone would’ve described just the idea of these three figures in a sentence or two, I would’ve been apprehensive; but, believe it or not, I like to be proven wrong.  It was really great to get back to G.I. Joe’s foundation and wouldn’t mind seeing some more strategic approaches to 1982-83.

Missile Command Center

To give a quick history lesson for anyone who’s not familiar, the A Real American Hero was originally designed to be a vehicle line but the action figures stole the show.  I always say we took that little tag line “collect them all” a little too literally.  However, in this case, I think the Missile Command Center is the star of the show.  Whether it’s nostalgia or rarity, reintroducing the MCC was a great idea and, without being in the boardroom, seems like a perfect product to surprise SDCC, appeal to that market, easy to produce (Bobby might disagree), and hit a specific price point.  This armchair wannabe toy designer is going to dub it brilliant!  These cardboard sets were always great for kids.  I’m forty years old, so I’ll try not to sound like I’m telling the kids to get off the lawn when I say I think we were drawn more towards assembly, cut out pieces that were, looking back, lower tech.  I wasn’t a model builder but I think that we’re the last generation actively embraced that (I’m not deeming the hobby dead but I recognize it is past its hayday.  Not hatin’, just statin’) and this set gave me that feeling.  I’ll be honest, it’s been so long since I put a cardboard set together, I was a little rusty. 

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The original set was ingeniously designed and very dynamic, considering it’s simply a few pieces of flat cardboard.  Once assembled, it really forms an intriguing piece.  It’s so simple, yet so intricate and so fun.  Whether you own one or not, I’m sure avid fans are all too familiar with the piece and probably have the image burned into their monitors due to extensive projection (do monitors still do that?).    Oh, and this set takes the piece one step further.  Like I said, Joe Con for me is like a whirlwind, I didn’t notice that all the art was recreated.   I thought it was a simple scan, clean-up, and then produce.  That’s not the case.  Bobby took the time to recreate every minute detail.  Both of Maxim Bady’s tag lines came to mind (look him up, I think he’s hilarious).  Everything is so crisp and yet the art and color palette makes you think this the vintage art.  I’ll say this, if you prefer the “imperfect” / hand drawn art by Ron Rudat, (the seemingly future-tech used on Castle Gray Skull, other card board sets, and other Heavy Metal inspired art), I think you’ll look at Bobby’s art and see it as your child mind thought you saw in the 80s.  It wasn’t when I put the two together that I could really pick them both apart.  Well, besides the decade of dust I had to remove and the now 35 years of cardboard aging that time has applied to my vintage one.   Real quick, I couldn’t find my vintage chairs.  I’m pretty sure I put them someplace where they wouldn’t’ be damage and that was seriously around the time I started the R.A.H.C. Guide (late 2005).  There’s a reason why I don’t showcase my collection, you can see a pile of tubs at Walmart anytime you like.

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So, we have nostalgia, check.  We have a contemporary update, check.  And we have a great pricepoint, check.  Some few points of interest and need to knows.  This is cardboard.  No, I’m not giving you sass.  Well, I am, but I really want to clarify you might want to think out putting yours together and study the blueprints if you do. This is especially important if you’re a picky collector like me.  Start by cutting the bags open, not trying to save them.  The bags are durable but will stretch when trying to simply remove the tape.  Failure to acknowledge this might close the plastic in on the cardboard and damage the cardboard.  Second, the tabs are meant to hold this thing together.  Not another “duh” moment, I say this because I am treating this piece like a one way street.  My tabs did bow, bend, and split when I inserted them.  It’s not a knock on the product, it’s just how cardboard is compared to the demand that’s being placed upon it.  However, most important, the “U” shaped console is very thing at the points where the center angles into the sides.  It almost seems like it’s supposed to fold there but it is not.  My impetuousness suffered some very slight folding but whatever.  Half way into assembling this thing, it reminded me that it is cardboard and not meant to last.  Cue “Dust in the Wind.”  These imperfections are not noticeable unless I point them out but I can’t help but notice every little detail on things once I analyze them.  Ask my shrink, he hears about it every Thursday.  Just kidding.  He dropped me as a client year ago.  If you are pickier than me, my condolences.  But seriously, you might just want to admire it flat and from afar.  I will, however, strongly encourage you to not only buy one but to just dive in and put it together. 

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I am not engineer-minded, though not engineering inept, it might help to start a conversation with the fans and figure out ways to refine the process and simultaneously reinforce the piece if you want to increase durability.  At this point, you’re asking cardboard not to be cardboard and I don’t know what to tell you about that.  However, I am extremely confident our fandom has the talent and the solution and, at this point, you’re asking this shirtless jungle reviewer to go on a mission in the arctic.  I’m not Gung-Ho (that’s not what she said).

File Card holder

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Have I mentioned it’s all about the little things recently?  Because, if not, it is.  This set even includes the foldable file card holder, meant to hold all original thirteen file cards.  This piece was originally in the vintage set so itz ghottztah be in this recreation.  This piece makes a great little knickknack to put on your desk or to round out your Joe area.  An interesting not, the file card holder has the vintage card art on it, not the 25th art.  Or, if it has 25th art, the thumbnails are so small, you can’t tell.  A quick interesting point of interest, the “Bazooka Soldier” is labeled the “Rocket Launcher Soldier.”  I wonder why that is. 

And if you think I forgot to mention the red back file cards, you’re crazy.  RED BACK FILE CARDS!!  We Joe collectors love our red backs.  I recently contributed to a fan project that wanted a file card and the group wouldn’t move past the file card being red back.  And why would they??  It’s just another simple, yet essential, aspect of the set that puts a nice cherry on a superb sundae.   The file cards are meticulously designed to emulate the originals, yet utilize the 25th card art and have a few missing details no longer used by Hasbro proper (flag points).  But c’mon, are we going to cut our red backs?  I think that’s a shunning from the hobby.  I don’t know, I’ll have to check the bylaws. 

Conclusion

If you haven’t been picking up on my enthusiasm towards this set, then you’ve been simply looking at the pictures.  I don’t blame you; I don’t read Justin’s commentary either.  And I’m totally a tl;dr reviewer.   If you’ve always wanted a MCC or wanted an nice crisp one than this is you set.  If you can’t get enough of the Cobra Command, this is your set.  If you already have a nice MCC…, well…,  forget you.  Just kidding.  You might want to put your vintage one in a hermetically sealed case and display this recreation.  I am confident you will get the same level of enjoyment.   I know you get four stars for showing up in a review around here so I don’t know how to rate this.  I tend to think you’re either in or you’re out so this one’s in*.

*Yes, guys who archive toys are biased because we own everything anyway, leave it be.

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If you are near Dayton, OH, I will be at the Ohio Toy and Comic Show and will have these exclusives there to view.  Find me or check out the What’s On Joe Mind? panel, I stand in for Justin (someone has to draw the short straw).  I have always enjoyed the SDCC sets more than most and this one keeps that spark alive.

G.I. Joe Convention 2016 Cobra Heli-Viper

AirborneAirwaveAltitudeDrop ZoneSkydive
Static LineAir DevilBlack VultureFlying ScorpionNight Vulture
Sky CreeperCloudburstSkymateHeli-ViperAir Raid
FreefallSky SweeperSkystrikerHydra w/ Aero ViperJUMP Jet Packs
Con Set Recap

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As a guy who really embraces the funky whacked out colors of the 1990’s, the COBRA Heli-Viper is a figure that should be right up my alley, but honestly, it really isn’t.  It’s not necessarily the brightness of the colors that gets to me, it’s the placement of the colors and the fact that the purple/red combination is so all encompassing without any decent detail breaks or interesting trim colors.

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Believe me, I wish I knew why some figures appealed to me, but others don’t.  Why can I wholeheartedly love the crazy yellow and pink Mega-Viper, yet the classic Heli-Viper, for some reason, just doesn’t float my boat?

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I don’t have an answer.

One thing I can say, though is that the Collectors Club did a decent job taking the framework of the classic Heli-Viper and bringing it forward into a modern format.  It wasn’t anything extraordinarily complicated, after all, Hasbro already did their version of the Night Viper and their version of the Snow Serpent. the Club just had to take those two figures and mesh them together with the right paint scheme.  In that way, the figure isn’t especially inventive, but it is well executed.  The articulation from the relatively recently released Night Viper works well, and though I’m not a huge fan of the MARS Officer webgear, it’s the same that was used for the Night Viper(s) so it makes sense to use it here, too.

Accessories

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Where the Heli-Viper truly excels is with his accessory compliment.  Although the webgear is somewhat lackluster, he does come with a cool pistol for the holster, a great machine gun, and the same phenomenal helicopter backpack that Ultimate COBRA Commander did back in the Retaliation line.  I love the sheer size and aesthetic of the helicopter (with its removable bombs and everything) and I am ecstatic that the Club included it with this figure.  A very cool touch.  It even fits!

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Heli-Viper has never resonated with me in spite of the fact that I usually embrace loud colors in later generation figures, and the updated version isn’t necessarily my cup of tea either.  This three pack is almost saved, however, by some terrific accessories and the mere fact that we’ve now got these guys in a modern format.


G.I. Joe and the history of Springfield

It’s interesting to poke fun at the city of Springfield, Illinois giving Cobra Commander the key to their fine city, but the truth is there is a long, established connection between Springfield and Cobra that goes all the way back to the first year of A Real American Hero, 1982.

Interestingly, when Larry Hama chose this mythical “Springfield” as Cobra’s hometown base of operations, he did so for much the same reasons as the Simpsons chose it several years later as their imaginary home town.

I plan on speaking with Larry Hama about G.I. Joe’s relationship with Springfield, and will post that next week, but for now, click the Continue Reading link below to explore a little of Springfield’s history.

After you read it (or before) check out GIJoeCon.com to see how you can go see Cobra in their natural habitat in Springfield, IL!

Continue reading

Cobra 1st Legion – 2013 Toy Drive to support Oakland Children’s Hospital

For the third year running, G.I. Joe cosplay group Cobra’s 1st Legion is doing a toy drive to support Oakland Children’s Hospital, and they’d love your support! The Toy Drive goes from now until December 21st, and you can drop off new, packaged items, including toys, books, gift cards, and personal hygiene products at the sponsors you see in the poster below. If you live in the Oakland, California area and want to support the Oakland Children’s Hospital, consider contributing to the Cobra 1st Legion Toy Drive!

Check out the poster below for the list of the sponsors.

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IDW Preview – G.I. Joe The Cobra Files #9

Excuse me while I shed a little tear over the upcoming demise of IDW Publishing’s awesome “Cobra Files” ongoing series, which reaches its end in December.  This issue looks to start sewing the seeds of the team’s destruction, and even the first few pages are captivating.

The full issue hits comic stores today, definitely check it out!  Meanwhile, the preview is below.

G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files #8

Mike Costa (w) • Antonio Fuso (a & c)

THE HOUSE ALWAYS WINS – PART 2! TOMAX makes his move… and no one on the COBRA FILES team will be prepared for the sinister plan the Crimson Twin unleashes. Trapped and cornered in their own facility, will FLINT, CHAMELEON and the rest of the team make it out alive?

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Bullet points:

  • Riley Rossmo variant cover!

More clarification from Mike Costa on the end of G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files

G.I. Joe comic fans were blindsided this afternoon when IDW’s December solicitations labeled The Cobra Files as its “final issue”. Widely regarded as one of the fan favorite titles of the IDW universe, Costa’s “Cobra” title dips into the murky depths that many other writers have been unwilling (or unable) to approach. There is a certain depth and design to the Costa universe (which was developed thanks to the expert assistance of co-creator Christos Gage and artist Antonio Fuso) that made these characters feel more real and very deeply flawed.

Yes, this is a good thing.

Questions immediately arose today with the announcement of the title’s cancellation, and it turns out, everything is simply going according to plan. Mike Costa fired up his Twitter account and spoke out about the wrap up of G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files.

“Yes, the final issue of COBRA FILES is 9. That may seem premature, but I’ve been building to this for two years – long before the relaunch”

“I want to thank IDW and Hasbro for letting me end this run the way I always intended. And it’s not the last you’ll see of me in the Joeverse”

“Some characters’ stories will end FOR EVER. Some characters will show up in other books. Some of those books will be written by me.”

So it sounds like there are other plans for Costa’s characters and his writing throughout IDW’s G.I. Joe universe, and I suppose if the Cobra title had to end, I’m happy it ended on Costa’s terms and on his time table. Knowing what we do about Costa’s past work, its obvious he’s not afraid to make some waves with his story and his characters, so I think it’s safe to say we’re in for an exciting and bumpy ride over the next few months. A perfect conclusion to a terrific book.

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G.I. Joe: Battleground launches new map, double XP and Cobra La Incoming!

The last G.I. Joe: Battleground PVP Event has been met with some pretty vocal criticisms, mostly for the perceived uneven gameplay and buggy software that appeared to permeate the entire event. Well Mobage and DeNA are doing what they can to erase bad memories with a couple of exciting announcements over night.

First of all, folks have noticed a grayed out area called the “Florida Everglades” and that grayed out area is now active, offering a wealth of more missions for both G.I. Joe and Cobra! Included in those new missions are some exciting new character cards for folks like Sneak Peek and Muskrat, and judging by the announcement image, Desert Scorpion and Recoil are in the wings as well.

To go along with the new map, G.I. Joe: Battleground is offering Double XP on all missions throughout the entire weekend, so take some time to level up your backlog of characters.

You might want to focus on levelling up the G.I. Joe side, though, as Mobage also warns us that Cobra La is coming! A new event is apparently on the horizon, and based on the shaded images, looks like we’ve got Falcon and Pythona to look forward to (among others I’m sure).

Download G.I. JOE: BATTLEGROUND for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices for free at: Mobage | G.I. JOE: BATTLEGROUND

Joe A Day 2nd Anniversary Special Edition Podcast

The first thing that comes to mind when I see that the Joe A Day blog is celebrating their second anniversary is how the hell is he still sane?  Rob from Joe A Day continues to plow ahead featuring one G.I. Joe figure per day every single day for eternity.  Go Rob!

To celebrate his second anniversary, Rob brought in some G.I. Joe illuminaries (and me, too) to talk about the G.I. Joe property and Joe A Day’s place in the online G.I. Joe lexicon.

Join myself, Gary, and Mike from What’s on Joe Mind as well as Dave from Flag Points on a special podcast, and check out all the other contributors over on Joe A Day.

It was a lot of fun, and I still can’t believe Rob’s been sticking it out for this long.  Keep it up, Rob!  As long as you’re doing it, I don’t have to.

Check out the Podcast right here.

Preview for IDW Publishing G.I. Joe: Cobra Files #1

The good news: it’s new comic day tomorrow!

The better news: it’s new “Cobra Files” comic day tomorrow!!

Yep, after a short break, we are getting thrust back into the twisted world of Mike Costa’s “Cobra” universe, aptly titled now “The Cobra Files”.  From all indications, it takes up right where things left off in the Cobra series proper.  We’ll see just what Costa and Fuso have up their sleeve tomorrow.  Check out the details and the comic preview below.

G.I. Joe: The Cobra Files #1—SPOTLIGHT

Mike Costa (w) • Antonio Fuso (a) • Michael Lark, Fuso (c)

A SNAKE IN THEIR MIDST! Her name is CHAMELEON—and she used to be a COBRA agent. Now she’s made her way into the G.I. JOE team—the honest way. But even with the best of intentions, does she have what it takes to fight on the side of the angels? FLINT thinks she does, and he’s willing to gamble the lives of this teammates on her… Unfortunately, with the Crimson Twin called TOMAX pulling the strings, no bet is a sure thing.

*2 regular covers will be shipped in a 1-to-1 ratio

FC • 32 pages • $3.99

*Variant Covers:

            “CobraGraphic” variant cover by Tom Whalen!

             wraparound variant cover by Jamal Igle, featuring the new team—All three new G.I. JOE launches will have one!

Bullet points:

  • The third big launch in the new direction of G.I. JOE comics!
  • Can a Cobra agent become a hero?
  • “Mike Costa’s Cobra is one of the best comics being published today”—Brian K. Vaughan